Monday, January 16, 2017

On Turning Thirty-Two

I remember how I felt when I was about to turn twenty-two.  All birthdays up until that one were fairly significant, but twenty-two was the first year that I felt like adulthood had finally crept up on me.   At that age I was recently married and found out I was expecting my first baby!  I cherished my twenties.  I always remembered hearing my Mom say though, "The thirties were the best."   I have since heard that from many others, and since I turned 30 in 2015 I have seen this in my own life.

I was reading a book a couple weeks ago and had to laugh when I came across this paragraph.

"I start my monologue, the same one I did in the Showcase.  Over and over in the play, my character says, "I'm thirty-two years old," as if that should explain everything that's wrong in her life.   I don't know what it's like to be thirty-two, but I can imagine. I imagine that she means she's stuck in an in-between time, she's at an age that isn't a milestone but more of a no-man's-land, an age where she's feeling like her hopes are fading."  - Frances Banks (character from Lauren Graham's novel, 'Someday, Someday Maybe') 

I laughed because this is not me at all.   In fact, the only time I ever felt like that was when I was turning twenty-two.   That was my in-between time.  I felt lost.  I had all these desires to do so many things, but no real way of accomplishing those things.  I wanted to help and serve and encourage, but everything seemed to just be at a stand-still.

Thankfully, after my first daughter was born when I was 23 things began to change for me.  At around 24 or 25 those fears that I had had began to dissolve when my daughter started to interact with me and I finally faced the reality that this little being was going to grow into an adult, and it was going to happen much faster than I ever anticipated.   I suddenly realized that I never was lost, and I started seeing all of the ways that God had been preparing me for this my entire life.  It was truly incredible when I began to piece these things together.

I had a real job to do that was so significant that no other job could compare to it.

Fast forward to now...

I am the happiest and most content with my life than I have ever been.  At least since I was about 8 years old. ;-)  Not much can top being 8 years old.

Everything about my life is exactly as I dreamed it would be.

I am married to a wonderful man who loves me dearly. This year we will celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary!

I have not one, not two, but THREE amazing daughters.   I can honestly tell you that I never thought I would ever really have children.  I didn't think it would ever happen, just as I didn't expect to ever be married.  I always thought, though, that if I ever did get married and have kids, I had hoped that I would one day have a daughter.   God has blessed me with THREE of them.  These girls are my world.  They are the reason for so much of what I do on a daily basis.

I seriously have my dream life! 

I am sometimes saddened when I realize how so much of our society thinks that I have chosen to waste my life by not working full time and aiming to better my own "career". I know it's just ignorance, but the fact is that God has given me a beautiful life that I do not deserve. Everything about what I have right now is because of Him, and there is no other way to explain it. It's a dream come true.

When I was a teenager, God gave me the desire to know Him (not just about Him). It was through this faith in the reality of Christ that I fully began to see life from an eternal perspective. Making intentional decisions about my life became something that I did with ease. I had no fear of what other people would think.

And my choices have been extremely intentional. Nothing was accidental, decided for me, or chosen as a "last resort". When I was twenty I became FULLY aware of how fragile life is. My mom dying young had an enormous effect on my views on life.  When I made decisions like choosing to not to date just anybody that came along,  to save my first kiss for my husband, to not continue college, and to not work full time, it had absolutely nothing to do with something I had been told to do or was forced to do, they were things I decided to do for the sake of my own walk with Christ.  Through God's leading, I intentionally chose the "jobs" that I felt were the most helpful to others and worthy of pouring my time and efforts into.  

My desire for life, after age 20, was for nothing more than to devote all of my time to serving Him and serving all of the people around me.  In that respect, really nothing has changed.  I still have the same desires, and I continue to aim for less of me and more of Him.  

As a result of all of these decisions that God led me through, this is where I am now.  And I am loving every bit of it. 

  1. Most of the time, I am home with my family.  I get to do all of my favorite things: create a beautiful living space, organize, discover new ways to better the functionality of the household, learn new things every single day,  make good use of our resources, spend tons of time with my kids, read to my kids, teach them, provide them with much-needed life skills.  Working to serve my family on a daily basis is by far the most enriching and beautiful part of my life on this side of heaven.  
  2. I am a teacher.   I get to teach my own kids!!! How incredible is that?!  It's such an amazing blessing to be able to do this.  Right now I have this wonderful opportunity to learn with my kids and be present when they learn how to read, how to multiply, and how to write. Not only do I get to teach my own kids, but I get the opportunity to teach two different groups of amazing kids each week on Mondays (Classical Conversations) and Fridays (Living Legacy Academy).  
  3. I am a photographer.  I get to spend a couple months out of the year photographing families, children, and special events.  Photographing for me is much like painting.  It is an art that I thoroughly enjoy and take every opportunity I can get to do it.   My website is down right now so I can't link to it but I will have it up and running by spring! 
  4. I am a writer.   For the past 7 years, I have had the opportunity to write monthly articles for a local magazine called Hood Magazine.  I have also earned a little extra income through blogging over the past 8 years. This allows me to share my faith, to express and organize my thoughts, to clear my head, to encourage others, to teach, and so many more things! 
  5. I am finally doing something to combat cancer.   If you did not already know this, my mother passed away from cancer in 2005.  Several of my family members and friends have fought the disease as well.  Cancer is a major threat and there are many, MANY different types and causes. There is so much "research" out there that is just not helpful in any way.  Most of what you will find on the internet does next to nothing to fight this disease.  So aside from finding ways to aid the the real work being done to find cures, there is not a lot we can do to fight it. The little that we CAN do though, is something I believe we all should do.  That is to eliminate the harmful chemicals out of our home to the very best of our ability.  There is no way to truly live free of these harmful chemicals, but you can help yourself and your family just by changing the way you think about these things. Through Norwex, I now have the chance to help improve the quality of life of my friends and family members through teaching the many ways to clean and run their household without harmful cancer-causing chemicals.   It is my desire that everyone would throw out all of the junk and gunk that is filling the air and dust in their home, making them even more susceptible to illness, and just fill your home with things that you know are safe

This birthday was a good one.  I am looking forward to the future. I can't wait to see what happens in the rest of my 30's, my 40's, 50's, and so on.  I am so happy to be where I am right now.  I feel so completely blessed. 

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